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€113k airport drugs mule gets four years

A SPANISH drugs mule who was intercepted at Dublin Airport carrying €113,000 worth of cannabis in his suitcase has been sentenced to six years, with two years suspended.

Jose Miguel Dominguez Rivas, from Barakaldo, in Spain's Basque Country, told gardai he was to hand the drugs over to an anonymous contact due to meet him at the airport, who would recognise him by the distinctive orange suitcase in which the drugs were packaged.

The 31-year-old, of Calle Asturias, Barakaldo, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of 14kgs of cannabis resin and herb or sale or supply at the airport on November 5, 2009.

Garda Tanya Shinkins said Rivas told gardai he was being paid €2,000 to courier the drugs to Dublin from Bilbao by a man he had come to know through his cocaine addiction.

Counsel for the defence, James Dwyer, told the court that Rivas had accumulated a drugs debt through his one-gramme-a-day cocaine habit, which cost him between €30 and €40 per day.


Mr Dwyer said Rivas came under financial pressure after his losing his job and this, combined with his cocaine habit, prompted him to smuggle the drugs.

He said the former factory worker had found himself in a vulnerable situation and allowed other people in the drugs trade to take advantage of him.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said that Rivas' decision to hand himself in to gardai, after his case was struck out at the District Court on a technicality, qualified as material assistance to the investigation.

Judge Delahunt said the court had regard to Rivas' full and frank admissions, his decision to address his drug habit and his decision to make himself available for re-arrest.

But she added that the crime was "not at the lowest end of the ladder of the heinous drugs trade".

She ordered that Rivas leave the jurisdiction within 48 hours of his release from custody at the end of his sentence.